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List of archaeoastronomical sites by country
This is a list of sites where claims for the use of archaeoastronomy have been made, sorted by country.
The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and the International Astronomical Union (IAU) jointly published a thematic study on heritage sites of astronomy and archaeoastronomy to be used as a guide to UNESCO in its evaluation of the cultural importance of archaeoastronomical sites around the world, which discussed sample sites and provided categories for the classification of archaeoastronomical sites. The editors, Clive Ruggles and Michel Cotte, proposed that archaeoastronomical sites be considered in four categories: 1) Generally accepted; 2) Debated among specialists; 3) Unproven; and 4) Completely refuted.
Magura Cave, Bronze Age "paintings of staggered black and white squares could have been used to count the days in a calendar month", possibly indicating the number of days in the solar tropical year.
El Infiernito, (Spanish for "Little hell"), is a pre-Columbian Muisca site located in the outskirts of Villa de Leyva, Boyacá Department, Colombia. It is composed of several earthworks surrounding a setting of menhirs (upright standing stones); several burial mounds are also present. The site was a center of religious ceremonies and spiritual purification rites, and also served as a rudimentary astronomical observatory.
Puyang tomb, dated from 5000 BP, depicts a mosaic of constellations.
Abu Simbel, The axis of the temple was positioned by the ancient Egyptian architects in such a way that twice a year, on October 20 and February 20, the rays of the sun would penetrate the sanctuary and illuminate the sculpture on the back wall, except for the statue of Ptah, the god connected with the Underworld, who always remained in the dark.
The so-called Giants' Churches (Finn. jätinkirkko), which are large, from c. 20 metres (66 ft) to over 70 metres (230 ft) long rectangular or oval stone enclosures built in the Neolithic (c. 3000–1800 BC), have axis and doorway orientations towards the sunrises and sunsets of the solstices and other calendrically significant days. For example, the Kastelli of Raahe, which is one of the largest Giants' Churches, had its five "gates", i.e. wall openings, oriented towards the midsummer sunset, the winter solstice sunrise, winter solstice sunset, the sunrises of the mid-quarter days of early May (Walpurgis, Beltaine) and August (Lammas), as well as the sunrise 11 days before the vernal equinox in 2500 BC.
Newgrange, once a year, at the winter solstice, the rising sun shines directly along the long passage into the chamber for about 17 minutes and illuminates the chamber floor. (Generally accepted).
Drombeg stone circle, at the winter solstice, the sun sets into a v formed by two distant overlapping hills and makes an alignment with the altar stone and the two main uprights. Due to the nature of the site and the western hills, local sunset is c. 15:50.
Beaghmore Stone Circles, a complex of early Bronze Age megalithic features, stone circles and cairns. Some archaeologists believe that the circles have been constructed in relation to the rising of the sun at the solstice, or to record the movements of the sun and moon acting as observatories for particular lunar, solar or stellar events. Three of the stone rows point to the sunrise at the time of the solstice and another is aligned towards moonrise at the same period.
The Caracol is theorized to be a proto-observatory with doors and windows aligned to astronomical events, specifically around the path of Venus as it traverses the heavens. (Debated among specialists).
The main pyramid El Castillo (the Temple of Kukulkan) displays the appearance of a snake "crawling" down the pyramid at the spring equinox (Unproven).
^Ruggles, Clive; Cotte, Michel, eds. (2011), Heritage Sites of Astronomy and Archaeoastronomy in the Context of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, Paris: ICOMOS / IAU, ISBN978-2-918086-07-9
^ abcdeRuggles, Clive; Cotte, Michel (2011), "Conclusion. Astronomical Heritage in the Context of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention: Developing a Professional and Rational Approach", in Ruggles, Clive; Cotte, Michel (eds.), Heritage Sites of Astronomy and Archaeoastronomy in the Context of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, Paris: ICOMOS / IAU, pp. 261–273, ISBN978-2-918086-07-9
^ abcdeRuggles, Clive (2015), "Establishing the credibility of archaeoastronomical sites", Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union, 11 (A29A): 97–99, doi:10.1017/S1743921316002477
^Norris, R.P.; Norris, P.M.; Hamacher, D.W.; Abrahams, R. (2013). "Wurdi Youang: an Australian Aboriginal stone arrangement with possible solar indications". Rock Art Research. 30 (1): 55–65.
^Stoev, Alexey; Maglova, Penka (2014), "Astronomy in the Bulgarian Neolithic", in Ruggles, Clive L. N. (ed.), The Handbook of Archaeoastronomy and Ethnoastronomy, New York: Springer, pp. 1377–1384, ISBN978-1-4614-6140-1
^Time Life Lost Civilizations series: Southeast Asia: A Past Regained (1995) p.93-4
^Langbroek M., Huilen naar de maan. Een verkennend onderzoek naar de orientaties van Nederlandse hunebedden. P.I.T. 1:2 (1999), 8–13
^Belmonte, Juan Antonio (2015), "Ancient 'Observatories' – A Relevant Concept?", in Ruggles, Clive L. N. (ed.), Handbook of Archaeoastronomy and Ethnoastronomy, 1, New York: Springer, pp. 133–145, doi:10.1007/978-1-4614-6141-8, ISBN978-1-4614-6140-1, [T]he proposed use and precision have never been appropriately proven or tested. In addition, the site lacks any historical or ethnographical context.
^Carolyn Kennett, (2018), Celestial Stone Circles of West Cornwall: Reflections of the sky in an ancient landscape